“The joy of discovery is certainly the liveliest that the mind of man can ever feel”
The observance of Juneteenth is about the journey and achievement of African
Americans - from a horrific period of sanctioned enslavement to the pinnacle of
human endeavors. It is a story of pride, resilience and determination that will
always be of historical and spiritual importance – as it serves us well to under-
stand that together, we can overcome all obstacles in our path.
As we know it, June 19th 1865, was the day word reached the enslaved in
Galveston, Texas that their emancipation had been made formal, though it had
been so since January, 1, 1863. And with those words, our country changed, this world changed. And, with bold and contentious decisions, we have continued to change – striving always to make it right, to make it better for all.
Today on Juneteenth, we have the opportunity to look back at this nearly century-and-a-half journey of progress. We pay homage to those who have gone before us, those that have paved the road to freedom – many with their lives. We stand on their shoulders. We, as a collective, from all walks of life, are a part of this victory. We celebrate freedom.
Through our celebrations we reflect this independence. Through grass roots organizing and community collaboration we enjoy the creativity and dedication that produce celebrations from the dinner table to the backyard barbeque, from the neighborhood block party to the city wide parade, golf outings to health expos and from the school cafeteria to the corporate conference room. Juneteenth is a celebration that comes from the soul and spirit of people coming together. There is no governing body that sanctions or approves Juneteenth celebrations and committees. Celebrating Juneteenth comes from the heart and that is why the members of the Michigan Chapter urge our communities to take part in this important part of our history.
As we pay tribute to the journey, we acknowledge the many roles and contributions of the African American spirit to our society. We embrace the past as well as the future that unity, respect and appreciation can bring. To the countless supporters, organizers and attendees of Juneteenth celebrations hosted all across this nation and beyond, you are writing the history of our country – there can be no greater honor than that. We thank you.